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Inc. 5,000 List Includes Fast-Growing Language Service Providers
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on August 30, 2010  in the following blogs: Business Globalization, Best Practices, Interpreting, Market Data, Translation and Localization
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Inc. magazine publishes an annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. This year's list includes 15  language services providers (LSPs) -- many of which are growing at a significantly faster rate than the average market growth rate we last reported of 13.15%.

These 15 LSPs are translation and intepreting firms, all but one categorized under Inc's "Business Products and Services" tab (CyraCom was listed under the "Health" tab). The following table includes their Inc. 5000 rank, the company name, its three-year growth rate, and revenue for the last year.

Inc. Rank Language Service Provider 3-Year
Growth Rate
in US$ millions










Language Services Associates




U.S. Translation












CETRA Language Solutions




Certified Languages International




Para-Plus Translations




Language Line Services








CyraCom International




Dynamic Language Center




Fluent Language Solutions




Eriksen Translations



Because the magazine's ranking methodology focuses on rapid increases in revenue, smaller companies with strong growth over zero score higher than more established firms. Thus, adaQuest's nearly 500% jump over the three-year rating period trumps the impressive doubling of TransPerfect's much larger revenue base over that same period.

Inc's approach differs from Common Sense Advisory's market sizing report, which ranks LSPs not by rate of growth, but by total revenue. Our May 2010 list of the top 35 LSPs includes Language Line (#4 in revenue on our list), TransPerfect (#6), Welocalize (#15), and Language Services Associates (#32). Certified Languages International did not qualify to appear on our global ranking, but it did take the 15th spot in our regional ranking for North America. Both Inc.'s and our rankings are voluntary, meaning that there may be faster-growing or bigger U.S.-based LSPs out there -- all they need do to be considered is make themselves known to Inc. and Common Sense Advisory and participate in the respective application processes.

However, success in global or domestic multicultural business requires more than just translating text, interpreting spoken materials, or localizing code. Going beyond the business services category, we give a language services shout-out to representative companies in a few other categories for their growing role in supporting multilingual business initiatives:
  • Multilingual call centers. The Spanish-language call center Listen Up Espanol (#27 on the Inc. list) clocks in with US$14.9 million in revenue driven by a numbing 6,914% growth rate. Further down the list, the multilingual call center firm VXI Global Solutions (#1,110) earned US$97.6 million in revenue, an increase of 271% over the last three years.

  • Advertisers, design firms, and strategists. The Inc. list includes a large category of advertising firms, many of which we assume work on transcreation and even translation projects, but probably just call both of them "creative" for local markets. Firms in this category include companies like Shift Global (#2,145) that build websites and marketing campaigns -- its three-year growth rate was 121% with US$3.4 million in revenue. Much larger Apco Worldwide (#4,469) focuses on public affairs and strategic communications -- it has grown at 19% and booked US$100.3 million. The list also includes specialists, such as Just Marketing International (#3,806), which clocked a 39% growth rate and earned its US$79.5 million by marketing motorsports worldwide, and hospitality industry-focused TIG International (#3,752), with US$31.2 million in revenue and a 41% increase over three years.

  • Law firms. Baker & McKenzie (#3,826) is present in 39 countries, generating US$2.1 billion in revenue and a growth rate of 39%. Faegre & Benson (#4,647) billed US$283 million for a 14% increase. Morrison & Foerster (#4,643) focuses its Asian operation on public offerings, booking US$884 million as it, too, grew 14%.

  • Educators. GlobalEnglish Corporation (#2,294) made the list with its US$33 million in revenue and growth rate of 110%. While this company focuses on better business English and no other languages, transnational companies and global virtual teams demand a common tongue for efficient internal communications.

These firms are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Many of Inc's fastest-growing firms in media, retail, software, and IT services will need to rely on LSPs to grow beyond their English-language domestic markets with global and multicultural offerings -- as the world of language services just keeps getting bigger.


Correction: The original post on 30 August did not list CyraCom. We modified the table to include CyraCom and changed the number of LSPs in the Inc. 500 list from 14 to 15 to reflect this correction.


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